Starting a small group can be more complicated than it first appears. And less complicated than we make it.
Soon after we moved into our forty-unit apartment building, my wife and I wanted to start a Bible study to reach out to the unbelievers who lived there. I had no idea how to start an investigative Bible study, so I asked Glen, a minister at the church we attend.
"I don't think you should do a Bible study yet," he said. "Build some friendships with the people first, keep praying for the people there, and then ask some of those friends to a Bible study when the time seems right."
"But how will we know when the time is right?" I asked.
"I don't know. But somehow the Holy Spirit will let you know."
That wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for. My pragmatic nature wanted a specific date and time and a 10-point list of how to's. But we did what Glen suggested—making friends, praying for them, looking for "signs."
A year and a half later we were still befriending, praying, and watching. Then one evening I was stopped by Sherry, the apartment manager. She told me that Sigma, who lived in the building with her boyfriend, Vic, had been approached by a member of a cult and invited to attend a Bible study with them. Sherry asked me to talk to Sigma about this cult.
Sigma and about six other people from our building were sitting around a table by the swimming pool. I told Sigma what I knew and answered her questions. In the midst of our conversation, a long-haired young guy who wore AC-DC T-shirts and had a reputation for smoking pot said, "Why don't we just start our own Bible study here? Mike could lead it, and we could meet at different people's apartments each week. We could invite other people from the building too!" ...